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Home Computer Use and the Development of Human Capital

Ofer Malamud and Cristian Pop-Eleches ()

The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2011, vol. 126, issue 2, 987-1027

Abstract: This paper uses a regression discontinuity design to estimate the effect of home computers on child and adolescent outcomes by exploiting a voucher program in Romania. Our main results indicate that home computers have both positive and negative effects on the development of human capital. Children who won a voucher to purchase a computer had significantly lower school grades but show improved computer skills. There is also some evidence that winning a voucher increased cognitive skills, as measured by Raven's Progressive Matrices. We do not find much evidence for an effect on non-cognitive outcomes. Parental rules regarding homework and computer use attenuate the effects of computer ownership, suggesting that parental monitoring and supervision may be important mediating factors. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

Date: 2011
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The Quarterly Journal of Economics is currently edited by Robert J. Barro, Lawrence F. Katz, Nathan Nunn, Andrei Shleifer and Stefanie Stantcheva

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